Since I like a lot of older music and a lot of non-mainstream artists, it can be hard to find some of the music I want. The digital revolution in music hasn’t always extended to back catalogs, or at least not as quickly as I would like it to. It’s a real shame because so much if it is really good, worthwhile music that needs to be preserved for future generations. It is kind of annoying that you can get every terrible song that every one-hit wonder in the digital age can produce but real classics from talented artists aren’t available. Just because they were unfortunate enough to be born before the advent of computerized recording studios.
I’ve always got stuff on my to-find list. It would be my full-time job if I didn’t need money to buy what I find!
On weekends, I am often spending time looking for old records at garage sales and flea markets. When I strike out with those, I’m calling up record shops and contacting recording studios to ask about back catalogs. I’ve made good friends with a lot of the music stores in a day’s drive of my house, and most of them will call me when something comes in that I might be interested in (here’s a pro tip from me to you: make friends with these people, it is definitely worth it!) Speaking of friends, my close friends joke that I actually need to have something to look for. That if I ever found everything I ever wanted to listen to, I’d either drop dead or I would fall into a serious depression. One particularly smart friend of mine claims I’d probably just find something else to look for — which is the most appealing situation as far as I’m concerned, to be totally honest!
Yesterday I was off to an estate sale in the off chance that there were some old blues records in the offering. I struck out in that regard, which would have stung a little, but I did not leave empty handed! I did find an old big band compilation I didn’t even know was out there. I snatched that up right away. I love when stuff like that happens, it definitely pays to have an open mind and a watchful eye.
If you’re interested in creating a well-stocked back catalog of great vintage music, here are a few tips: you’ll need older technology to play some of it, so it’s worth investing in a quality record player and tape deck. Some even have digital recording capabilities if you want to be able to transfer it to something more moderm. Remember, there’s no point to looking for something that you can’t play once you find it. Second, do some internet searching on archival sites – you never know what’s out there, it may be easier to find than you think. Third, check YouTube. While this seems counter-productive, many people who have found rare music will play it in videos. It may not be the best quality sound but at least you’ll get to hear it. You can also ask the finder if they can tell you where they got it, or any other questions you may have about the recording. Third, make friends with people who have access to recordings. Whether it’s somebody at a record company or your local music store, when people like you and know what you’re looking for, they’ll let you know if it happens to cross their paths. My fourth and final tip is just to keep looking, anywhere you can think of: libraries, auctions, garage sales, bargain bins, your relatives’ attics or basements, or even storage units. Don’t get discouraged easily!